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Ear to the Ground

Stray Dogs in the Cross Hairs in Harrisburg

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Posted on Jan 15, 2012
zoe J (CC-BY)

Stray pets are a growing problem in cities across the country.

In these days of dwindling budgets, the austerity thing can go too far: Police officers in Harrisburg, Pa., have been given the OK to shoot stray dogs rather than take them to local shelters.  —ARK

Salon:

Want to get people riled up? Institute a new policy about shooting puppies.

The city of Harrisburg, Pa., learned this last week when an internal police department memo went public, instructing officers of the cash-strapped city to stop bringing its growing number of stray dogs to the shelter. Instead, it said, they should release them in another area, adopt them themselves — or just put a bullet in them. Now that’s the new austerity.

Amid the predictable outcry, the city promised it would reconsider the policy. But the controversy also illuminated a serious — and largely ignored — urban issue: the soaring number of feral cats and dogs, and cities’ decreasing ability to deal with them. “The problem is way worse than people assume,” says Randy Grim, founder of Stray Rescue of St. Louis. “It’s a topic nobody talks about, but over the past 20 years it’s become an underground epidemic in most cities.”

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By MyBIGdog.co.uk, April 29, 2012 at 4:01 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Truly horrible - what kind of people pass such policies and who could carry our such
orders!

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By patin reno, January 16, 2012 at 2:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Maybe we should are the dogs so they can defent them selves?

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By GoyToy, January 16, 2012 at 1:12 pm Link to this comment

They first shot the brown people, and now it’s the dogs. SICKOS

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By Paco, January 16, 2012 at 7:46 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There is a better way - adopt a stray.  They can be wonderful companions. 

Absolutely the most loyal and obedient dog I’ve ever had was a stray that I adopted.

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By erikdvp, January 16, 2012 at 6:51 am Link to this comment

Got to love PETA http://www.top13.net/top-13-best-peta-
commercials/

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By socalcde, January 15, 2012 at 8:27 pm Link to this comment

And there are police who are willing to do this? What wouldn’t they do if instructed?

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culheath's avatar

By culheath, January 15, 2012 at 8:26 pm Link to this comment

Step 1: Stray dogs
Step 2: Stray people

It’s all of a piece isn’t it?

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By berniem, January 15, 2012 at 5:09 pm Link to this comment

The worst of the “stray dogs” in Harrisburg are to be found in the legislature, gov’s office, and the halls of the judiciary! As constituted, the only way to reform Pa. government is via the guillotine!

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By bpawk, January 15, 2012 at 3:17 pm Link to this comment

Owners of the pets should have their pets sterilized. If they can’t afford that, they can’t afford a pet. This would be the humane way of dealing with the problem.

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By mrfreeze, January 15, 2012 at 1:53 pm Link to this comment

I went on a business trip to Harrisburg, PA in the late 1990’s. It had to be one of the most tight-assed, conservative and regressive American towns I’ve ever visited. It “smelled” of NAM (National Association of Manufacturers), a place where the Chamber of Commerce was King.

Given my impressions back then, and my general low opinion of PA, this story doesn’t surprise me in the least. I felt no “compassion” at Harrisburg (even for people) then, why should any other beings matter?

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By Patricia, January 15, 2012 at 1:44 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

In Istanbul, stray dogs are neutered and immunized and then ear-tagged before being returned to the street.  Citizens feed them and it is common to see pans of water left out for them during summer months.  If a city of 21 million people can take care of its strays, then so can we in America.  Shooting animals should be beneath us.  It is cruel.  How many of these animals could be trained and given to the handicapped?

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By Okasis, January 15, 2012 at 12:55 pm Link to this comment

I went to Salon, and read the whole article, including some of the comments. One of the comments referenced PETA’s preference for just turning domestic animals lose - whether pets, or farm animals, in the name of ‘animal rights’

IMO, this is one of the dumbest and weirdest uses of the concept of ‘rights’, whether Human or Animal. Any specie abandoned to exist or not, simply by chance presents an extreme danger to society - whether from disease or violence.

This reminds me of the right-wing-nuts who advocate no birth control or abortion, and then deny economic, medical, or educational support to the poor.

Stupid hardly describes it.

Then there is the increasing dehumanizing effect on society when we simply accept random violence within our civilization as if there is no effect. It took centuries to end public executions, bull baiting, and slavery, beggars, homelessness, and the rest of man’s inhumanity to man, and now we simply advocate it because it is ‘cheap’.

There are effective means of solving many of these problems, starting with increasing taxes to support the public good rather than wasting our wealth on wars, and weaponry, and useless toys to amuse the lazy and ignorant.

As for feral animals, spay neuter programs work, but are slow and expensive, especially with cats, who come into heat every 3 weeks until a pregnancy is achieved [Unlike dogs, who have only 2 heat cycles a year]. I lived on an island with a big feral cat problem. it was solved by trapping the wild cats, and giving the males vasectomies. Kind of like the insect programs that breed sterile males, having the fixed males continue breeding cuts the number of litters much faster than simply eliminating one male cat’s sex drive.

That’s why it is preferred by humans to castration, when you think about it - it’s much more effective and fun, for the victim!

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By Trebor, January 15, 2012 at 11:03 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I guess this policy will next be applied to the
homeless, the unemployed, and the victims of
foreclosure fraud?

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By Dooby, January 15, 2012 at 10:52 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There has to be a better way to solve this problem. This makes me sick!

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